Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on the progress of resolution 2231
We thank Rosemary DiCarlo for her presentation of the Secretary-General’s report on Security Council resolution 2231. We appreciate the efforts of the Permanent Representative of Belgium as Facilitator on the implementation of resolution 2231. We share the position of the Secretary-General regarding withdrawal of the U.S. from the JCPOA and restoring of unilateral sanctions against Iran, which runs counter to the goals of both the JCPOA and resolution 2231, and undermines the capability of Iran to uphold the provisions of these documents.
Let me remind that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the unanimously adopted resolution 2231 of 20 July 2015 were historic achievements of the global diplomacy and multilateralism per se. These agreements proved that even the most acute problems and crises can be overcome by means of politics, given presence of good will.
Iran faithfully complies with its part of obligations under the JCPOA. Numerous reports by the IAEA Director General prove this. In this sense, the JCPOA has become a pivotal tool of promoting the global non-proliferation regime, and Iran has become one of the most verifiable countries of the world.
At the present moment, there is only one way to preserve the Plan: all the remaining Member States should scrupulously observe the obligations they voluntarily took upon. In this context I would like to point out that the report by the Secretary-General clearly stated that Iran faithfully implemented its “nuclear-related” commitments, “albeit in the face of considerable challenges”.
On many occasions and at all international platforms, we have condemned reckless attempts to torpedo agreements and expressed hope that issues of global security and stability would stop being hostage to the internal political “backstage” of some States. Unfortunately, our calls found no response and the unique potential of the JCPOA was imperiled.
The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and by doing so undermined the agreements that were fundamental for both regional and global security. Now it is the U.S. that tries to shift the blame to someone else’s shoulders. The U.S. refuses to implement resolution 2231, which it actually endorsed, and also tries to “punish” other Member States for implementing decisions of the Security Council. At the same time, the U.S. demands from Iran unquestioning compliance with all of its commitments.
By the way, there are quite a few examples of such “doublethink” in steps taken by the U.S. administration. They say no one is going to change the regime in Iran – and threaten to “deliver an overwhelming military response”, and new sanctions are introduced. They call upon dialogue – and declare intention to enhance military presence in the region. Such signals, that are not that easy to decipher even for an experienced cryptologist, can only steer the situation to the “point of no return”.
There is only one practical step we can take to save the JCPOA. All the remaining parties to the agreements should implement their commitments. We should cast aside any fear and egoistic considerations and move to the forefront our tasks to sustain viability of the JCPOA. We are convinced that repeated “rate increases” and constant squabbling as to who cares more about the Plan, will only provoke extreme sentiments. We should not allow that the upper hand be gained by forces that believe the only way to solve international questions is political pressure, economic suffocation and blackmailing with forceful and military action.
When the JCPOA was signed, its efficacy was predestined by the unanimousness of political will of all members and by their firm determination to achieve the final goal. It means that today we also have to work on creating conditions that would make it possible to solve tasks that those who remain committed to the JCPOA have before them.
We stand for keeping the JCPOA. We also want Iran to remain committed to this agreement. However, we understand the deep disappointment of Tehran with the latest developments, whereby Iran is told to fully implement the commitments, and is not offered anything in return. Besides, this happens against the backdrop of Washington willing to strangle Iran with economic sanctions, to say nothing of military threats. All the participants of the JCPOA should make real, not demonstrative steps and efforts so that Iran could understand why it implement the JCPOA commitments. This is the legitimate claim of Tehran.
It is with regret that we have to say that the report is characterized by a systemic lack of evidence in parts related to Iran’s missile program, assumed weapon deliveries from Iran, some alleged violations by Tehran of provisions of Security Council resolution 2231 regarding asset freeze and ban on movements of some individuals. Another unsolved problem is self-initiated inspection activities of some members of the Secretariat who have neither competence nor mandate required to do so. The language that asserts that some of the missiles and other weapons, studied by members of the Secretariat, be of Iranian manufacture, does not actually prove anything. The problem is exacerbated by the reservation, saying that the Secretariat cannot state that Iran transferred abroad either the missile in question, or sets of wings pertaining to some UAVs, after the JCPOA was enacted. Here comes a question: If the Secretariat cannot either say for sure or provide results of an inspection that would prove that resolution 2231 has really been violated, why then the Secretariat still prefers to include such episodes in the report?
We see the situation in the Persian Gulf being deliberately inflated, which poses a threat to the peace and security in the region and to the global efforts on conflict-relief. The “evidence” of Iran’s guilt that we receive is not convincing. It looks like a ‘casus belli’ is being created. The rhetoric we hear today about Iran’s ties with Al-Qaida and tanker explosions – things that Iran must least of all be interested in – takes to resemble the March of 2003, when arguments were fabricated to invade Iraq. Everyone knows what effects it entailed.
We believe there is an alternative to this provocative action. There is a need to strengthen the environment of confidence in the region. I remind that in its resolution 598 dated 1988, the Security Council tasked the Secretary-General to develop stability-and security-building measures in the region in collaboration with the regional States. Russia stands ready to promote this process during contacts with our regional partners and all the interested stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to build a truly inclusive security architecture and have all States of the region involved therein. Our concept of enhancing security in the Persian Gulf given international guarantees remains up-to-date. This initiative could start with a conference of countries of this sub-region that could prospectively attract other Middle Eastern States. By all means, we support the call of the Secretary-General to take every step that can lead to de-escalation.
In conclusion let me stress that Russia remains committed to unconditional compliance with the provisions of resolution 2231 and of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We join the call of the Secretary-General to avoid provocative statements and acts that could have a negative impact on the stability of the region. We will set forth our work to achieve compromise- and balance-oriented dialogue. This is the only way. Only coordinated collective efforts can handle the current developments.